I Hear You

Some of the nicest words a friend can say are, “I know what you mean.”

I recently passed by some women sharing a really intense friendship moment. They were leaning in close and one was pouring her heart out to the other. While one pushed back tears, the other patted her arm and said sincerely, “I know.”

That’s all.

She didn’t go into a long story about her own similar situation; she just showed her friend she understood.

That was such a reminder to me of the power of compassion. It’s such a critical thing to give and receive. Advice is good. Experience is important to share. How-to’s are practical, but sometimes, the best remedy for the hurt inside us is simply, “I hear you.”

This was even more evident to me when I was speaking at a recent event. One woman fought back tears through my entire message.  After the session was over, I had the opportunity to sit down with this sweet mom. Emotion overwhelmed her and she cried no less than ten minutes.  I simply held her as she cried. No words were spoken.

Before this recent dark season of my life, I would have been uncomfortable with this show of emotion minus words. Now I better understand the value of simply being present for someone who is hurting. Sometimes there are no words to say. Just knowing someone cares and you are not alone is all that needs to be accomplished.

What about you? Have you been on the giving or receiving side of simply being present for someone hurting?

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6 Responses to I Hear You

  1. Amy L Harden says:

    Sometimes saying nothing is the BEST thing you can do…to just be present for a friend. Thank you, Jill for this wonderful article…Isn’t this what God does all the time? He listens and just holds us while he collects our tears.

  2. Sandi Haustein says:

    Jill, I’ve been on both ends. I’ve walked closely with several friends through very difficult times, and this past year, after losing a baby to miscarriage, I had a friend in addition to my counselor who allowed me to cry and was Christ to me in my pain. So much of the time God uses others to show us that He sees us (as your friend, Tammy’s book, The God Who Sees Me, describes so well) — I think that that is why these times of deep intimacy mean so much. The fact that someone sees and even feels your pain means the world when you’re going through a storm. Ultimately, it’s God, through your friend, who is revealing His heart for you.

  3. Shelly Burke says:

    I have a friend whose 16 year old daughter was killed in a car accident 2 1/2 years ago. Many times we talk and she cries…and I just let her cry, without saying anything. I write her notes saying, “I don’t know what to say–but you’re in my thoughts and prayers.” It’s hard not to try to say the “right” thing–or anything at all–but in some situations there is absolutely NOTHING that will make the situation any better. She once sent me a card and said, “It doesn’t matter that you don’t know what to say, YOU WERE THERE.”

  4. Laura says:

    Mostly I have received the comfort…but I was thinking. Doesn’t every mom who stops and listen to their teenage girl know experience the holding of a sobbing child? Growing up is grueling.